Say we start with the understanding
you are not real. You are in a movie
beside a window in the winter rain
and the only house for miles. Say
the woman whose car broke down is not real either,
though you fear for her, follow her because
you must, because every gaze pours through
a window in the dark. She comes. She rings.
And no, you have no telephone, no power,
but as she stands at your door, her hair ravaged
in the downpour that drugs the whole of nature,
your exhumed heart begins to pound a wall
somewhere, the way someone pounds a machine
that breaks, cursing it to make it work.
And the long loneliness of never being
here, never breathing the dead-leaf scent
of rain that makes a mist of late December
begins to dawn on the woman who sees in you
something of the wreck she left behind,
of the car and marriage gone to rust.
Someday, she says, machines will carry us
over the threshold of a house in the rain.
Whatever the nonsense or indiscretion,
you agree. Say we begin with that threshold,
and you are on the other side, opening
your heart. And the shovels in the yard
open theirs. Say we begin beside a river
where you drink. Then you turn from the water,
startled, blurred, and when the blind girl touches
the scar in your forehead, she opens a wound.
And the movie never gets better than this,
this hand in human darkness, this moment we swear
a real rain is just beginning. The mirror breaks.
A wind blows through the stillness of the screen.